Report: Ford purges leaders at Chicago Assembly Plant after harassment suit

SHARE Report: Ford purges leaders at Chicago Assembly Plant after harassment suit

The Ford Chicago Assembly Plant on the South Side is once again the focus of a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Thirty-three women have joined a federal lawsuit against Ford Motor Company alleging they were victims of sexual harassment attwo area plants.

The plant manager, human resources and labor relations leadership have been removed at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch, according to Automotive News.

However, neither the company, the United Autoworkers Union, nor the EEOC would confirm the report.

The suit — filed May 1 in Chicago by women who work at Ford’s Assembly Plant at 12600 S. Torrence Ave. in Chicago or the Stamping Plant at 1000 E. Lincoln Hwy in Chicago Heights between Jan 1, 2012 and now — alleges they weresubject to a hostile work environment including attempted rape, unwanted sexual advances, touching, groping, and men exposing or showing pictures of their genitals.

“Ford is aware of the ongoing discrimination and harassment which occurs on a daily basis in an open manner, such that it is observed by employees and supervisors, and has turned a blind eye toward it,” the suit says.

Asked about reported firings, Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said in a statement, “Ford rotates the career assignments for employees based on the needs of the company. Any questions regarding the UAW, should be directed to their team.”

A message posted on the UAW Ford Department’s Facebook page on behalf of Vice President Jimmy Settles says the chairperson of the Chicago Assembly Plant, Allen “Coby” Millender, one of those named in the lawsuit, was temporarily suspended by the company in the wake of the investigation, but returned to work April 15, according to Settles.

The union did not respond to requests for information about other reported firings at the plant.

“The UAW and Ford Motor Company share a strong commitment towards eliminating sexual harassment and discrimination, of any form, in the workplace. Such conduct is unacceptable, it is not tolerated and there are policies in place to prevent such from occurring,” Settles said in the statement.

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 1998: Women doubtful Ford sincere on harassment

Millender has since been reinstated with his suspension ending April 15 and the UAW is grieving the suspension. Heis alleged in the suit of identifying one of the four women who originally brought the action to about 200 male co-workers who allegedly left images of male genitalia around her workspace.

The 145-page lawsuit, which was amended to add 33 more women plaintiffs, points to a history of gender-based issues at the plant, which employs about 4,000 people, and claims an ongoing culture where female employees are singled out for unequal treatment, sexual innuendo, unfair discipline practices and inequality in job assignments.

The women also say in the suit that groping and requests or demands for sex were commonplace.

TheEqual Employment Opportunity Commission conducted an investigation and found several women were sexually harassed and subjected to gender and race discrimination, according to the suit.

An EEOC spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the investigation Tuesday morning, citing confidentiality.

Ford builds the Taurus, Explorer and Lincoln MKS models at the plant, as well as its Police Interceptor models.

Ford had previously paid $7.5 million in settlements after a 1998 sexual harassment suit at the Hegewisch plant.

The sexual harassment lawsuit against Ford

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